Between sky-high upfront costs and the potential to get done over at the end of your tenancy, renting a home in Luxembourg is often easier said than done.
With Luxembourg's notoriously high housing prices, buying a home is out of the question for many of us — especially younger people only starting out in their careers. That leaves the options of living abroad, with your parents (if they happen to live in the GD or nearby), or renting.
In fairness, that's the standard in most places - but renting in Luxembourg comes with a particularly high set of barriers, and some real pitfalls. With that, here's what to do, and what to don't*.
*Grammar deliberately broken.
Do make sure that you are well aware of your rights as a tenant before you even start looking for a place. Once you find a flat to apply for, things may move rather quickly.
With that said, don't take too long to make up your mind if you find a flat or house that you really like. Homes in popular areas often go very quickly.
Do keep in mind that you'll need a good chunk of money set aside before you can rent. The standard is three month's rent as a security deposit, first month's rent up front, and 1 month rent (minus 'charges', plus VAT) to be paid to the rental agent. Given that the average rent for a flat is around €1,520 and €2,900 for a house, you can expect to pay €6,080-11,600 before you even move in.
Don't get suckered in to paying a deposit exceeding 3x your monthly rent - it's not legal.
Do take stock of the rental duration. While 1 year may be the standard in many other places, in Luxembourg you'll generally be expected to sign up for a 2 or 3-year lease.
Don't forget to let your landlord know at least 3 months in advance if you're planning to move out at the end of your contracted tenancy. You are legally liable to pay 3 months' rent following the date of your notice.
Don't pay your deposit in cash. Cheeky landlords may ask that you do, but according to the law this is not something they can request. The tenant can, but it's not recommended.
Do make sure you understand the deposit scheme you're signing up for. A "first demand guarantee" set up by your bank is the safest option.
Do keep a close eye on the inventory, and request that one is included in your rental agreement. Landlords are not legally bound to provide one, but standard rental contracts will often state that the property is in 'good', 'perfect', or 'excellent' condition when you move in - whether it is or not.
Don't forget that both you and the landlord must sign and date the inventory, and that it cannot be dated later than the time at which you take possession of the property as a tenant.
Do keep in mind that your landlord is not under any obligation to accept additions of pre-existing damage that you find after the inventory and rental agreement are signed. Insist on a thorough inspection beforehand.
Don't forget that the listed rental price may not include charges (water, heating, cleaning of communal areas, etc.) and so your final rent may be slightly higher than expected.
Do contact the ULC (consumers' union) if you run into trouble with your tenancy and cannot resolve it directly with your landlord. They have a page outlining your rights and obligations, but unfortunately it's only available in French at the moment.
Don't forget that Guichet is a great resource for common questions, and provides answers to some of the most frequent questions about renting.